There is something enticing about abandoned buildings with magnificent old-world architecture coupled with a rich and mysterious past. The post-apocalyptic appearance captures our imagination and triggers certain emotions within us. Who lived or worked here? When did they leave? Why did they abandon such a place? Where did they go – or did they even go anywhere – maybe they’re still here?
There are abandoned buildings that look like the setting for the latest zombie apocalypse movie, some look like the former residence of the fairest princess of all the land, and a few that appear as though they are still lived in, but not necessarily by the living. Yes, a very unsettling and creepy thought, but you know that just adds more intrigue to these buildings.
Let’s take a look at 10 stunning buildings and find out what stories are held within their walls.
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10 Riverside Hospital (New York, New York)
Riverside Hospital is located near Manhattan on North Brother Island. It was constructed in 1885 to house and treat those with untreatable infectious diseases. The legendary “Typhoid Mary” also found her home here. “Typhoid Mary” was a woman suspected of infecting dozens of people with Typhoid disease. She was forced into containment until her death. She lived here for over 25 years.
After World War II, the hospital was turned into a rehabilitation center but this only lasted a few years. In 1963 Riverside closed its doors for good.
The only inhabitants now are rodents and birds. The interior of the building is in a complete shambles, but parts of the exterior façade remain. The gorgeous archways and classical brick frames are reminders of its past life.
9 Wyndclyffe Castle (Rhinebeck, New York)
Wyndclyffe Castle is located close in Rhinebeck, New York. This mansion allegedly inspired the phrase “Keeping up with the Joneses”. It was built in the 1850s by Mrs. Elizabeth Jones, New York City socialite.
No expense was spared in its construction. From the Tiffany stained-glass atrium to the exterior’s intricate brick design. Everyone wanted what the Jones family had – wealth and prestige.
Sadly, the mansion and its 80 acres were abandoned in 1950. Since then it has been through multiple owners. In 2017, the latest owner announced plans to demolish the remaining parts of the home.
8 Lynnewood Hall (Elkins Park, Pennsylvania)
The 10th largest historic house in the U.S. was built in 1900 for businessman Peter Arrell Brown Widener. After his death, the home went to his son. However, after his son died, no other family members came forward to claim Lynnewood. Due to its size, the costs associated with it far exceeded everyone’s budget.
The grand colonial home sat vacant for 10 years before it was sold to a preacher. However, the preacher couldn’t afford the home and it went into foreclosure. So, Lynnewood quietly waits for someone to look past her crumbling roof tiles and overgrown flower beds and sees the potential she has.
7 Ha Ha Tonkna Mansion (Ozarks, Missouri)
In 1905, construction began on this magnificent castle on a cliff with views of the Ozarks. Tragically, in 1906, the owner, Mr. Snyder, was killed in one of Missouri’s first recorded car accidents. Snyder’s sons took on the task of completing their father’s vision, which they accomplished in the 1920s. But, no sooner had they completed the job, they lost their entire fortune during the stock market crash of 1929.
The manor was turned into a hotel in the 1930s before a fire ravaged the property. In 1978 the state of Missouri purchased the ruins before transforming it into a public park. Due to structural instability, the castle can only be seen from an observation deck. But, it remains a spectacular sight.
6 The Los Feliz Mansion (Los Angeles, California)
You wouldn’t know it just by looking at it but the Los Feliz Mansion has a tragic history. The home sits in a quiet residential community in Los Angeles. High archways and wrought-iron fences accentuate this stunning property.
This property has been a popular sight for ghost hunters and curiosity seekers since the double murder on the night of December 6th, 1959. Yes, a double murder. Dr. Harold Perelson battered his wife to death with a hammer and then attacked his daughter before downing a glass of acid. The reason behind the horrific crime remains a mystery.
The home has been slowly falling into disrepair. The wrought-iron gate is aging along with the crumbling façade of the home. In this case, perhaps that’s what’s meant to be. It would be incredibly difficult to make a property with such a horrific past into a cozy family home.
5 Traverse City State Hospital (Traverse City, Michigan)
In November 1885, the Northern Michigan Asylum opened its doors to its first patients, 44 male patients to be exact. The 300,000 square foot Victorian building was a staggering quarter-of-a-mile in length and 70-feet tall! Over eight million bricks were used in its construction, which took three years. It’s an ornate building that’s imposing size and history make it a popular tourist attraction.
The hospital closed its doors in 1989. The property sat abandoned for many years. The interior of the hospital became littered with garbage, graffiti, and rodent occupants. In recent years a restoration society has taken over the property with plans to create modern residential apartments, boutique stores, gardens, and host events. You can take a guided tour of the property during certain weekends throughout the summer and fall.
4 Marquette Orphanage (Marquette, Michigan)
The Marquette Orphanage is located in northern Michigan. It was built in 1915 by the Catholic Church. It was used up until the 1960s to house children who had no willing family members to look after them. By 1980 there were no more children wandering these halls. The massive building was considered abandoned.
There have been numerous attempts to revive the historic building. The most recent proposal would transform the building into a senior living apartment building. In 2016 a ground-breaking ceremony took place. Only time will tell if the plan comes to fruition, but in the meantime, the magnificent building with its grand brick archways stands relatively untouched.
3 Bannerman Castle (Pollepell, New York)
Bannerman Castle was inspired by Scotland’s breathtaking landscape. Frank Bannerman was a wealthy businessman. He built the residence on the secluded island of Pollepel in the early 1900s. His wife designed spectacular gardens that were full of exotic flowers and shrubs.
After his death, the Bannerman family used the property as their summer retreat until a fire tore through the castle. It wasn’t rebuilt and was left to be reclaimed by the land. Today, restoration efforts are underway to bring it back to its turn-of-the-century glory days.
2 Rockland State Hospital (Orangeburg, New York)
Rockland State Hospital opened its doors in the fall of 1931. Things were going okay before World War II broke out. But, after the majority of Rockland’s staff was drafted, the hospital was left with no choice but to hire unqualified replacements.
Due to the lack of training, there was an increase in the spread of disease and death. Conditions grew terrible as the population surged. There was one psychologist per 300 patients, and there were 9,000 patients! Electroshock, hydrotherapy, lobotomies, and isolation were therapies used on patients, some as young as nine years old.
Sections of the property, most recently known as Rockland Psychiatric Hospital, still stand and can be seen from a public road.
1 Halycon Hall (Millbrook, New York)
This property has all the qualities of every “abandoned building” aficionado’s dreams. It is a massive building with turrets and balconies.
The building was built as a resort by H.J. Davidson, Jr., a businessman from New York. Unfortunately, the resort fell on hard times. Davidson, Jr. sold the property to Bennett College. The school didn’t last either and went bankrupt in 1977. The school was stripped and furnishings were given to a local library. As of last year, the building was slated for demolition.